91st PA--Harold Partenheimer

Harold Partenheimer

Before the war

Harold T Partenheimer was born about 1848/1849, in Philadelphia, to Henry R Partenheimer and Margaret A McMullen. Since some documents have his name as 'Henry', he may have been named after his father. Henry and Margaret seem to have had at least four children:

[sources: date: 1, 2, 3, 12, 13 (19 in March 1866). place: 1, 2. parents: 1, 2, 12 (see their marriage notice Public Ledger 15 Jan 1848). name: 3. children; 1, 2, death notice Public Ledger 29 June 1860 p.2 col. 4 (Mary Adelaide)]

In 1850, he was living in Roxborough, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his parents Henry and Margaret. [source: 1]

In 1860, he was living in ward 17, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with his parents Henry and Margaret, siblings Maggie and Rudolph, and with Louisa Grow. [source: 2]

When he enlisted, he was a clerk. [sources: 3, 4]


When he enlisted, he was 5 feet 6 inches tall, had a light complexion, was 5' 6" tall, had hazel eyes, and dark hair; he also had a burn scar on the right side of his cheek, and the letters 'HP' on his left forearm. [sources: 3, 4, 5 (hazel complexion, dark eyes, light hair)]

During the war

On 21 February 1865, Harold enlisted in the 91st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. He was enlisted at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, by Captain Lehman, for one year. His uncle, John C Partenheimer, was Captain of company B, and Harold joined that company. [sources: 3, 4, 5]

He joined with other new soldiers on 11 March 1865. [source: 3]

He was mustered in as a private, or musician, in company B. [sources: 3, 12, 18-19]

He was with his company on the company muster rolls for March/April and May/June 1865; in May/June he was detailed at divisional headquarters. [source: 3]

He mustered out on 10 July 1865, with his company. He was a private, or musician, in company B. He owed the US $6.21, had been paid $33.33 of his bounty, and was owed another $33.33. [sources: 3, 4, 18-19]

After the war

Less than a year later, on 26 March 1866, in Philadelphia, he enlisted in the regular army, for three years. He was assigned to the 18th US Infantry, Company G. He gave his occupation as clerk, said he had never been married and had no children. He still had hazel eyes, dark hair, a fair complexion, but had grown an inch, to 5' 7" tall. [source: 13]

Companies D and G were assigned to Fort C F Smith, on the Bozeman Trail, from its beginning, in August 1866. (They were reassigned to the 27th Infantry by February 1867.) The Bozeman Trail, through the Big Horn Mountains of Montana, led to the gold field in Montana, through territory granted by treaty to the Sioux and Cheyenne. Under Red Cloud, they defended their territory. In 1866, the US Army built three forts along the Bozeman trail to defend it: Fort Reno, Fort Phil Kearny, and Fort C. F. Smith. After the Fetterman Disaster, when the Sioux and Cheyenne defeated and killed Captain Fetterman and 80 men, the Sioux continued attacking travelers along the Bozeman Trail, and rendering it useless. For example, Nelson Story, who arrived in Bozeman on 4 December, claimed that '[n]o freighting was done after I came through'. And a "train report" from 1868 showed only one civilian train. [sources: 6, 7 (January 1867--18th Infantry and February 1867--27th Infantry), 9, 10 (pp.305-306 [Story letter] and pp.316-318 [train report]), 13]

Fort C. F. Smith was 91 miles from Fort Phil Kearny, and 281 miles from Virginia City. The weather and Sioux combined to make it isolated. No one reached Fort Smith between 30 November 1866 and 4 June 1867. One of the soldiers there later reported that it was under siege most of the time; leaving the fort risked their lives. Mattes quotes Elizabeth Burt's memory of a rare picnic in summer of 1868, which was not interrupted, and of a flower-picking expedition on 16 April 1868, which was. And AB Ostrander reported that Forts Phil Kearny and Reno heard nothing from Fort CF Smith from 20 February 1867 through 26 April 1868. [sources: 9 (v. 2, p.140 (Ostrander); v.2 pp.145-146 (Shurly)), 11 (p.130 quoting regimental records; pp.159-161 re flower picking; pp.165-166 re picnic)]

In November of 1867, a wagon train left Fort Phil Kearny for Fort Smith. It was initially commanded by Lieutenant F L McCarthy, of the 27th US Infantry. About five miles from Fort Phil Kearny, a wagon train commanded by Lieutenant ERP Shurly met them, and on 2 November 1867 Lieutenants McCarthy and Shurley traded commands. (Lieutenant Shurly had fought in the Civil War, and was a brevet Colonel.) The train was defended by 40 men, with a howitzer, who were returning to their post. Because of a "violent snow storm", they made very little progress the next day--only about one and one-half miles. On 4 November, the weather was better, but the road was slippery. They were following the bottom of Peno Creek, and reached a difficult place, about twenty miles from Fort Phil Kearney, near Goose Creek.(27) They had to go down a steep hill barely wide enough for a wagon, with a ravine on the left, and bluffs on the right. Further, the road tilted toward the ravine, and the road was very slippery because of melted snow. By about eleven AM, they had lowered all but three of the wagons down the slope. Then they were attacked by three or four hundred Indians. Beside the three wagons at the top of the hill, with the howitzer, two wagons were at the base of the hill, and the rest were just past the next small hill. The main attack came from the rear, which forced them to move the howitzer to the wagon corral. They protected themselves with sacks of corn. They sent five messengers back to Fort Phil Kearny, and Colonel Smith (commander there) sent troops to relieve them. They returned with three dead and two injured:(28)

[sources: 7 (Nov 1867: Peno Creek, McKeever wounded); 8 (Nov 1867); 11 (about 18 miles from Ft P Kearny (p.139), Shurley had an arrow wound in the foot [p.139], or was wounded by musket ball [p.289 n.40]; re Shurly see p.288 n.35, p.176, and p.291 n.2); 13; 14]

Harold's death wasn't reported in Philadelphia until almost a year later, in the 26 October 1868 issue of the Public Ledger. Perhaps that's because the situation along the Bozeman trail continued to deteriorate, until the government abandoned the forts in the spring and summer of 1868. [source: 12]

According to the death notice in the Public Ledger, he was buried near Fort Phil Kearny. Bodies buried there were disinterred in October 1888 and removed to Custer Battlefield National Cemetery, but the Department of Veterans Affairs has no record of his burial. However, of the 76 soldiers removed from Fort Phil Kearny, and re-interred in in the Custer Battlefield National Cemetery, the names of only 10 are known. [sources: 6 (p.201 footnote *), 16, 17]


1 1850 US Census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, Roxborough, p.256 verso, lines 8-10 (Henry, Margaret, and Harold Partenheimer)

2 1860 US Census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, 17th ward, p.1073, lines 21-24 (Henry, Margaret, Harold, Maggie, and Rudolph Partenheimer, and Louisa Grow)

3 Harold Partenheimer, Compiled Service Record, National Archives: includes Volunteer Enlistment form, Declaration of Recruit, and 5 cards transcribing muster roll entries for:

4 Civil War Veterans' Card File, available at the Pennsylvania State Archives, searched 18 May 2004 (H Partenheimer; rolls have Harold, also Harry)

5 company B, [third] descriptive roll, entry 53 (Harold Partenheimer)

6 Brown, Dee. The Fetterman massacre. Lincoln, NE: University of Lincoln Press, c1962.

7 Fort C. F. Smith, Montana, Returns; National Archives, Records of the US Adjutant General, microcopy 617, Returns from US Military Posts 1800-1916, roll 1190, Fort C F Smith Mont, Aug 1866-July 1868 [see especially the return for November 1867, which has a less detailed report than the Fort Phil Kearny return]

8 Fort Phil Kearny, Wyoming, Returns; National Archives, Records of the US Adjutant General, microcopy 617, Returns from US Military Posts 1800-1916, roll 910, Fort Phil Kearny [includes a description of the fight, in the return for November 1867]

9 Hebard, Grace Raymond, and E A Brininstool. The Bozeman trail: historical accounts of the blazing of the overland routes into the Northwest, and the fight with Red Cloud's warriors. [besides an extensive discussion of the trail, it includes a description of Fort C F Smith (vol. 2, pp.135-146), with a statement by 'Major' Shurly (pp.144-146).]

10 Johnson, Dorothy M. The bloody Bozeman: the perilous trail to Montana's gold. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971. (The American Trails series.)

11 Mattes, Merrill J. Indians, infants and infantry: Andrew and Elizabeth Burt on the frontier. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1988. Reprint. Originally published 1960. [Includes a lengthy description of Fort C F Smith in 1866-1868 [pp.123-172], and a long paragraph about the Goose Creek fight, on p.139.]

12 death notice, Philadelphia Public Ledger 26 Oct 1868 (Harold Partenheimer)

13 Partenheimer, Harold T.

14 Shurly, Lt E R P. Report of Lieutenant ERP Shurly, Commanding Escort, to George M Templeton, 1st lieut. and post adjutant, Fort C. F. Smith, M. T., written 10 November 1867, at Fort Philip Kearny, D. T. (From the collection of Glenn Sweem, provided by Scott Burgan.)

15 Tuttle, Edmund Bostwick. The boy's book about Indians: being, what I saw and heard for three years on the plains. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1873. (Western Americana; frontier history of the Trans-Mississippi west, 1550-1900; 5469.) [A brief description of the Goose Creek fight, on p.109]

16 letter, Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, 27 January 1998, with 'Ft. Phil Kearney, Wyo. Reburials at Custer Battlefield National Cemetery', received from Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, January 1998

17 letter, Department of Veterans Affairs, National Cemetery System, 9 October 1997.

18 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (Harold Partenheimer)

19 index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania (Harry Partenheimer)

Relevant source I know about but haven't yet checked

Annual Record of Events, 27th US Infantry, 1867, manuscript, National Archives [cited by Mattes]

letter, Harold T Partenheimer to Lambert J Dedford, 18 May 1865, in the Union League Archives

Sources checked unsuccessfully

1870 US census
FamilySearch index (accessed 16 Jan 12)
1880 US census
FamilySearch index (accessed 16 Jan 12)
1890 US census, veterans' schedules
Ancestry index (accessed March 2007)
1900 US census
FamilySearch index (accessed 16 Jan 12)
1910 US census
FamilySearch index (accessed 16 Jan 12)
1920 US census
FamilySearch index (accessed 16 Jan 12)
1930 US census
FamilySearch index (accessed 16 Jan 12)
pension index, by name
Ancestry index (accessed March 2007)

1850 census

[1850 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia County, Roxborough, microfilm series M432, film 820, page 256 verso = 508 handwritten]
[identification is confirmed by his family members]
Dwellings visited93  
Families visited93  
NameHenry PartenheimerMargaret PartenheimerHarold Partenheimer
Occupation of males over 15 yearsnone  
Real estate owned   
Birthplace" [sc. Pa]""
Married within year   
Attended school within year   
Over 20 & can't read/write   
Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.   

1860 census

[1860 US census, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 17th ward, microfilm series M653, film 1167, page 1073 = 287 handwritten]
[identification is confirmed by his family members]
Dwelling number1298     
Family number2291     
NameHenry Partenhaver [?]MargaretHaroldMaggieRudolphLouisa Grow
Value of real estate owned      
Value of personal estate500     
Place of birthPa"""""
Married within year      
Attended school within year      
Cannot read & write      
Deaf, dumb, blind, etc.      

index to compiled service records

[index to compiled service records of volunteer Union soldiers who served in organizations from the state of Pennsylvania]
[transcribed 16 February 2015, from Fold3]

Partenheimer Harold
Co. B, 91 Pennsylvania Inf.
Pvt | Musc
See also [blank]


[card 2, transcribed 16 February 2015]

Partenheimer Harry
Co. B, 91 Pennsylvania Inf.
Pvt | Musc
Original filed under
Partenheimer Harold


[Death notice]

[source: Philadelphia PA Public Ledger Monday 26 October 1868] PARTENHEIMER.--Nov. 4, 18[6]7, HAROLD T. PARTENHEIMER, of the 27th U.S. Infantry, in the 19th [sic] year of his age, eldest son of Henry and Margaret Partenheimer, was instantaneously killed in an engagement with Indians on the Plains near Fort Phil Kearney, Dakotah, at which place his remains were interred. Deceased served as Drummer Boy in Co. B, 91st Regiment Penna Vet. Vols., late rebellion. **399

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revised 12 Jul 15
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